Tag Archives: The Castle on the Hill

The Castle on the Hill & the Church on the Island

Thursday 3rd July, 2014

IMG_2445.jpg

Today I tick off two must-do activities in Bled, climb up to the castle overlooking the lake and hire a row boat and get to the island. It’s a hot day and I’m glad the climb to the castle is a relatively short one, about 15 minutes or so. It’s a beautiful day

IMG_2443.jpg
My $9 Turkey cons still going strong
IMG_2441.jpg
View from the top of the hill. Was a bit tricky to get any photos of the castle due to its close proximity to my camera lens

DSCF2258.JPG

We continue around the lake and pay our €10 for an hours boat hire. When I was 14 I did a school exchange to Australia and remember being quite good at rowing.  Well those skills have entirely dissipated in the decade that has passed. With me and the two Aussies sisters Beth and Kate taking turns, we somehow manage to row to the middle of the lake and dock at the tiny island. As expected, there’s not much going on, but we walk around the cute church and I bask in the sun whilst eating an icecream, a record first in at least a week now.

IMG_2451

IMG_2454.jpg

IMG_2457.jpg
The Johnston sisters  (Kate left, Beth right) making docking row boats look easy as pie

IMG_2462.jpg

IMG_2469.jpg

After a slightly faster return journey, we walk back to the hostel the way we came so I can get ready for the train. I farewell the girls that have been such fabulous companions on and off for the past few weeks, a bit sad knowing that our paths won’t cross again until we are back in Melbourne.

Then I bus to Bled train station, take a train the short distance to Ljubljana then hang around for an hour or so before catching my 4pm train to Vienna. It does pay to ask the hostels advice about such transport as I nearly paid €60 to leave at 9am then after asking Mika’s advice, discovered the €30 special that left at 4pm.

This is my first Euro train and I actually really enjoy it.  Is it bad that one of my first thoughts is that the train is just like the ones on the Harry Potter movies? The aisle is on one side and the cabins that can fit about six people on the other. Unexpectedly I have a cabin to myself for most of the journey, which is great because I pass out across three of the seats for the first few hours anyway. The countryside is very green and quite similar to that of NZ bar the lack of fences that we have to keep all of our sheep in. Once we cross the border, in Austria I see a couple of old castles on a hill which makes it seem even more Harry Pottery.

IMG_1521
Bye Slovenia! Miss you already

My aunt, Melissa, whom I haven’t seen for eight years, picks me up from the train and takes me back to her beautiful apartment in Hernals, district 17 (so we’re in the Hunger Games now?!). I have never been more grateful to have a double bed in a beautiful room, all. To. Myself. Heaven. It’s after 10pm so we have a quick catch up then head to bed.

Advertisements

Canyoning in Bled

IMG_2398

Tuesday 1st July, 2014

It’s a sad day when I can’t run six kilometres.  I just didn’t think I would be 24. Lake Bled is 6.2km in diameter and my holiday lifestyle means I succumb to two walking stints and get overtaken by a man that is balding.  And I’m meant to reuniting with my boyfriend in a month for a romantic beach holiday. I just hope he recognises me in the airport under my newfound layers of bread, pastry and icecream.

IMG_2391
The perks of not being able to run 6km….. ability to stop and take photos. Or was this an excuse to stop running?

IMG_2393

IMG_2394

IMG_2396

Bled really is an outdoor paradise, very similar to NZ in that sense, actually in almost every sense. We have the option to do all sorts of activities through our hostel but the only one that I didn’t know when I scrolled through the list was canyoning. Mika showed me a video and intrigued, I put my hand up for the 2pm excursion.
Basically, you’re in a gorge and you have to get from the top to the bottom of the canon (“a deep valley with steep sides often with water flowing through it” –Dictionary.com) however possible, jumping into pools, abseiling, tobogganing, scrambling, down ropes etc. It transpires that I am the only one in this session. My guide is a young local, passionate about canyoning, which is his summer job, snowboarding, which is his winter job and surfing, which are his holidays in Bali. We drive for nearly half an hour to the site. I put on a very glamorous sleeveless wetsuit with booties to match and tie the jacket around my waist. Carrying my helmet and harness I then walk with my guide up a pretty steep dirt trail for 15 minutes. We have a quick safety briefing then it’s time to get wet! The first stint is probably the most challenging. It’s the biggest jump we will do. It’s barely a five metre drop, but the hard thing is that you have to jump out over a ledge, and the landing pool is less than a square metre. Oh and I’m first. After a few nervous glances, the adrenalin kicks in and I take a leap of faith. I always figure that if I die doing something like this then at least I go happily and with no regrets!

Woohoo! At the bottom of a rock pool I am so stoked on life that I don’t really notice how cold the mountain-fresh water is. And maybe it’s kind of hard to tell through my wetsuit that feels about 10cm thick. For 40 minutes I tumble, laugh, abseil and slide my way down the canon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I got this!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_1508.jpg

Definitely worth the €55. SO much fun!
With groups it usually takes about an hour to get through. I think my guide felt bad that I was the only one and the legend gave me the cd of photographs  ^^ taken along the way that they usually sell for €20. Then he decided to go for a drink so we drove to the other lake that is nearby, Lake Bohinj, and we sat and had a beer in the sinking sun overlooking the lake while I picked his brains about hiking trails which I had heard are better here than in Bled. Tomorrow I decide to hike up a ski piste, check out the Savica (“saveetsa”) waterfall and walk around the lake.

Back at the Castle Hostel, I have repeat dinner from last night, meet two British girls and an Aussie lass in my room and have an earlyish night.